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Why she’s hungry

IMG_2877I gnawed at every root.
I ate of every plant.
I came upon no fruit.
So wonderful as want.
-Feast, Edna St. Vincent Millay

My name is Ana Sofia Peláez and my love for food started with a small inheritance.  Specifically, a 1970’s Sunbeam mixer that belonged to my grandparents and found its way to my Brooklyn apartment.  Growing up, I loved being in their yellow kitchen, watching them make Cuban desserts with that same mixer.  I was fascinated by the way they added the sugar to the butter to the flour knowing at exactly which point it all came together for the perfect result.

img_1463Leaving Miami for New York to attend Barnard College, I didn’t cook very often.  After graduation, I worked for non-profit organizations and later film production.  When the Sunbeam arrived, I was determined to put it to use; but, when I found their faded recipe cards, I realized they’d only listed the ingredients, never how they did it.  Determined to find my way back to the yellow kitchen, I started retracing their steps through the few cookbooks I had, always searching for the point they reached unerringly.  A recipe would lead to a new book which led to a website which led to a class and then to another recipe.  The more I practiced, read, experimented, the more I fell in love with absolutely anything and everything to do with food.  I love the writers, the odd conversations in random stores looking for ingredients, the pleased look on someone’s face when they tell me they have a great recipe I could try and the moment of alarm when I really ask for it.  Mostly I love the possibility of contentment that good food promises if only for a moment, and that I try to capture in my entries.  So to answer the question, I’m hungry because it’s never enough and it’s never enough because I’m just so hungry.

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57 Comments Post a comment
  1. Martha #

    This is awesome. I am so glad you are doing this blog. I will send you a copy of a 1927 cook book published my grandmother in Cuba. Her receipts are all in quantities to feed huge families… you might enjoy some of the receipts.

    17 May 2009
    • hungrysofia #

      I would love that! Don’t worry all Cuban cookbooks I see have enormous portions so I’m used cutting everything in half.

      18 May 2009
  2. lourdes bufill #

    Sofia: I LOVE your blog, I LOVE the writing and the graphics and the pictures. Most excellent, really!! And by the way, are those chairs Chiqui is sitting on in the pictures? The fabric is amazing. Well. your blog is one more thing to put on my list of “must read” on a regular basis. You know, I feel the love in your words that you have for food and the creative process. Sometimes I feel the same way about flower arranging, hanging art or just arranging a room. I’ll ask my mom about cuban family recipes. Happy Bithday, Cami. love to you both, lourdes

    21 May 2009
    • hungrysofia #

      Thank you! I would love any family recipes she’d be willing to share. Fabric is missoni.

      22 May 2009
  3. Joe Cecchini #

    Everything looks delicious.
    Occasionally I apt/cat sit at this fancy apt
    with a nice kitchen and whatnot.

    Next time I’m there,
    I promise to make something from your page.

    Thanks!

    joe

    26 May 2009
  4. Hi, cool post. I have been wondering about this topic,so thanks for writing.

    2 June 2009
  5. Shantel DeLorenzo #

    Like you, I inherited my grandmother’s Sunbeam mixer. However, mine has stayed in my cabinet for way to many years unused. You may have just inspired me to pull it out, dust it off and try a few of my grandmother’s recipes. Thanks.

    31 July 2009
  6. Flory #

    Ana I loved your blog and what you say about me……………..and it is true, chileans and peruvians are still fighting about the chirimoyas ( chileans want to change the name to chilemoyas) and of course they say PISCO (peruvian tequila) is chilean, even though there is a town in Peru ( we were there this weekend) called Pisco and there is where all started.Love and keep up the good work
    Flory

    3 August 2009
  7. Hello from Miami!I just stumbled across your blog in doing some research about El Palacio de los Jugos. I’ve only poked around a bit and I’m definitely adding it to my reader.

    21 October 2009
  8. Hi Ana! I discovered your blog through the comment you made on my guest post over at From Argentina With Love. I’ve been perusing your blog, and it looks like you have some great stories and recipes. I don’t know much about Latin Cuisine outside of Argentine and Mexican food, so I’m very interested in your blog. I’ll be adding you to my feed reader. Greetings from Necochea, Argentina!

    22 February 2010
    • hungrysofia #

      Thank you! Congratulations again on the Torta de Ochenta Golpes – I can’t wait to try it!

      22 February 2010
  9. Hi Sofia, I am really glad I found your blog,i am passionate about latin american food, and if you have a moment and visit my blog, you can tell! Your blog is fantastic and the photos are gret, I am adding it to my blog list right away! Viva Latinomerica y su comida!

    Besos desde Londres, de una española,

    pity

    11 March 2010
    • hungrysofia #

      Thank you for sending me your link – it looks wonderful and I can’t wait to catch up on past posts!

      11 March 2010
  10. Hi Sofia

    Stumbled upon your blog, I live in Costa Rica, and I knew your Dad (QPD)at UFla, we were frat brothers, I know your Mom and your uncles Blas and Tony from La Salle HS in Cuba.

    Please say Hi to your Mom, haven´t seen her (or you) since you were 4-5 years old.

    I´m a late-comer to foodieworld, but I´ve been cooking all my life, started with Cocina al Minuto de Nitza Villapol, read Larousse Gastronomique for fun, bake bread, make sausage and paté, love my slow cooker crock pot, homemade mayo, fresh chevre.

    Love your blog, keep up the good work.

    Jose

    13 May 2010
  11. Marianthe Rodriguez #

    I just want to thank you for your bolg. It has helped me so much! I come from Cuban and Costarican parents and I was born and raised in Miami. I pretty much grew up on a Cuban diet. But that did’t stop me from enjoying food from all over the world. Now that I’m 28 I regret not learning on how to cook Cuban. I just always left the cooking up to someone else. I recently moved to Maryland and I’m 6 months pregnant and craving all of those warm dishes and sweet treats that you can only find just about on every corner in Miami. So I decided to try doing them myself. I was searching for a recipe for Potaje de garbanzos and there you were. Ever since I’v been tring all of your recipes. By the way the garbanzos were super!! Thanks again and I’l be looking foward to new post.

    2 June 2010
  12. hungrysofia #

    I know how you feel. I definitely appreciated Cuban food more after leaving Miami. I’m happy the recipes are working out for you!

    10 June 2010
  13. Ani Cielo #

    Hi Ana Sofia,

    I smile as I write your name as it is my oldest daughter’s name, and one I quite like very much….

    I’ve been meaning to write you for a while to tell you how much I enjoy your blog. I am a Cuban-American, born in NJ, raised in Miami (still live here!) married with 4 amazing kids and an awesome Italian (yes – from there!) husband..and we LOVE food! Your posts always bring a tinge of bittersweet memories of my grandmother and her ALWAYS perfect meals – arroz con pollo, carne con papa, vaca frita, you get the picture…and you seem to capture that, in so few words…even if the “topic” that day is not “Cuban”….my younger brother lives in the City and before he boards the plane to MIA he has given my mom the wish list of what he would like to eat everyday – he feels like you do – you don’t really appreciate Cuban food until you leave Miami…

    Ok – enough rambling….thanks again for your words and please keep more of them coming…oh..one more thing…also a Marathon runner in training – LOVED your carb loading recipe!

    Ana Cristina Cielo (Ani)

    PS LOVED your sister’s blog…cried for a good 5 minutes….she rocks!

    9 November 2010
    • hungrysofia #

      Thank you so much. Some of the memories and experience I write about seem very personal to me so it means the world when other people can relate to them too. Good luck on your marathon! It was exhausting, exhilarating, and worth all the weeks of training. Have a great race!

      9 November 2010
  14. I also belong to a Cuban family with a long culinary tradition. My grandmother Maria was a friend of Nitza Villapol, back in the 50’s. It was a pleasure to find your blog. Thanks for the delicious recipes.

    11 January 2011
  15. Quihubo! I am a step-child of a Colombian and wife of a Colombian as well (both from Bogotá). I came across your site and I love it. Great recipes! It’s always great to see Latin recipes. We live here in Bogotá and just being surrounded by this culture, and people and way of life is so contagious and inspiring. That’s why we ended up creating our own blog as well. We will have to try out some of the recipes you have from other countries. You’re so bold to attempt all these recipes.

    28 January 2011
  16. Kristen #

    Absolutely love your blog! You are an amazing writer and I cannot wait to try your recipes – especially the dessert-type ones!! Thanks for sharing!

    21 September 2011
  17. It was a pleasure to meet you yesterday. Your blog is so sunny and cheerful. I will be coming back often. Muchas gracias!

    28 September 2011
  18. Your blog is simply gastronomically amazing! I love it to every bit :)
    Write more…

    10 January 2012
  19. Elsa Walsh #

    Being Cuban, I am truly thrilled to happen-upon your blog. I look forward to reading blog!

    1 February 2012
    • hungrysofia #

      Thank you!

      1 February 2012
  20. Misslisted #

    What a gorgeous, delicious, poignant and well organized blog…I am going to link to you on my blogroll. Very nice

    17 February 2012
  21. cantadew #

    This is an amazing blog! I just spent way more time than I should have looking through all the recipes you’ve posted :) I’m excited to try making some of these dishes, especially the gnocchi!

    17 February 2012
    • hungrysofia #

      Thank you! Please let me know how things turn out!

      17 February 2012
  22. Wonderful

    19 February 2012
  23. Great blog here on Latino cuisine…which I realize is just as crazy as sayin’ “Asian” cuisine. We need to keep on educating others and feeding them too! :D

    19 February 2012
  24. What an absolutely lovely blog! I’ve just started my own blog so I am very new to it all, but I have certainly been inspired by yours. Thank you for the inspiration, and the recipes – I will definitely be trying some! :)

    20 February 2012
    • hungrysofia #

      Thank you and good luck!

      20 February 2012
  25. What a beautiful blog – and what a lovely quote at the beginning which led me on to the whole poem – Love it. Thankyou! :)

    20 February 2012
  26. hello

    J’ai une recette que je vous voudrais vous partager que j’adore réaliser avec des courgettes dont on peu laisser la peau. Après un passage sous l’eau du robinet , on coupe les courgettes en rondelles d’un centimètre ensuite déposé dans la cocotte minute avec de l’eau salé pas trop durant cinq minutes au moment ou la soupape commence a tourner.
    Après la cuisson on jette les courgettes cuites dans une écumoire que l’on place ensuite dans un plat allant au four. On ajoute dessus de la préparation au gratin de soja brique qui fait 200 centilitre parsemé de fromage italien râpé. . Après on le dépose dans le four a gratinée et a servir très chaud
    Bonne appétit

    translate bing :

    I have a recipe that I would like you to share you that I love do with a Zucchini which is just leave the skin. After a passage under the tap water, cut the zucchini into slices of 1 cm then filed in the pressure cooker with water salted not too much for five minutes at a time or the valve starts a turn.
    After cooking it takes Zucchini baked in a skimmer then place in an oven dish. Added top of the preparation au gratin of brick soy which is 200 centilitre sprinkled with grated Italian cheese. . After placed on the kiln has pie and has serve very hot
    Good appetite

    21 February 2012
  27. Hello,I love to read more on this subject. I appreciate you for writing Why she’s hungry | hungry sofia.

    26 March 2012
  28. I just found your blog and I’m glad I did. While I can’t say that I have any Latin American roots, I do love cooking Latin American dishes. The food seems to have so much love and care. I love hearing about recipes that have a past. Those recipes are always treasured. Thank you for sharing your treasures.

    8 August 2012
  29. Hi Sofia – always love reading about all manner of cuisine, especially with the flavours from Latin America. I’m nominating you for a One Lovely Blogger Award! Should you wish to accept this award, please copy & paste the award image from my site and follow the rules outlined in my latest post.

    Have a lovely weekend!

    10 August 2012
  30. Jennifer #

    Hi Ana Sofia,
    Thank you so much for sharing your experiences and culinary adventures in this way. I just came across your blog via the NYT article that referenced it, and am intrigued to explore it further. Like you, it was loss that brought me to the kitchen. We lost both Cuban abuelitas and my own Cuban mother in the span of four years. In an effort to preserve the smells and tastes of our family holidays and gatherings– we started piecing together the traditional recipes (mostly by trial and error) based on our memories of the ingredients and tastes. I am happy to report that my own four-year old daughter’s favorite food is sopa de frijoles negros, and she knows the order of the ingredients now. Hopefully someday she can make it for her children.
    Thank you for the blog! I look forward to following it!

    19 September 2012
    • hungrysofia #

      Thank you so much for your comment. As much as we love our food, how wonderful that you are able to pass it on to your daughter. She has good taste!

      19 September 2012
  31. Eduardo #

    Sofia: As a fellow Cuban I enjoyed reading your frijoles negros recipe today in the Times. I have been using my mother’s recipe for more than 20 years. It is exactly like yours, except that I add a 1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon. Try it sometime.

    20 September 2012
    • hungrysofia #

      I have never heard of that-I have to try it! Thank you:)

      20 September 2012
  32. Lauren #

    Hello Ana Sofia,

    It usually takes me a day or so to get to the food section of the Times. This morning I read and thoroughly enjoyed your story and subsequently perusing your blog, which is great (great photography!) and makes me hungry just like Hungry Sofia!
    I intend to try your recipe for black beans. A simple black beans and rice was a staple and favorite of my two children (now recently off in the world). Easy to make on school nights after work (yes, sorry, I often resorted to canned beans), the basics were the same although I’d use whatever was on hand (a splash of day-old red wine or white depending on what I’d had the night before, fresh cilantro, a potato). The food I remember from my own family followed our New England culture, baked fish and roasts, but somehow rice and beans became a welcome addition to my repertoire (maybe it was growing up in New York, or all those Cuban lunches I had working in Hoboken for years!).
    I am struck not only by how food enables us to recapture and preserve our past, as your own quest shows, but to embark on new adventures of family and taste, as your blog recounts. Food is continuity, it is also discovery.
    I look forward to enjoying your writing and recipes in the future.

    21 September 2012
  33. Thanks for sharing the story! Cooking is one of the difficult things (at least for me it was difficult!) that one needs to learn after moving out of home.

    11 October 2012
  34. daisyandthefox #

    Hey Hungry Sofia!
    i have awarded you with the ‘Versatile Blogger Award’ http://daisyandthefox.wordpress.com/2012/10/12/fresh-start-new-name-revamped-style-versatile-blogger-award/ – congratulations – you most certainly deserve it! ))

    Daisy and the Fox

    12 October 2012
  35. David #

    Big fans of your blog, thought you might like to see this video of ours making simple black beans in a presure cooker

    12 February 2013
  36. Janet Rörschåch #

    Ana Sofia—Happiness. I have nominated you for a blogger award.

    http://wp.me/pOW7O-L3

    Thank you for being an inspiration to me.
    Cheers, Janet

    23 February 2013
  37. Hi, Sofia–Just got your latest post teaser. Thought you’d like to know that clicking on the main header and the “comments” links give you a”404: Page not found” error message. Love your pictures and blog. Ken

    17 March 2013
    • hungrysofia #

      Just saw this but thank you for the heads up!

      2 April 2013
  38. I love your blog! So glad to have discovered it. :)

    13 May 2013
  39. Love your blog – I so look forward to perusing through more of it!
    Sophia :)

    18 July 2013
  40. jillmckenzie #

    Hi Sofia, Amazing Recipes! I’d loooove the flavors of Latin-America. I wanted to try some of your delightful recipes but I’m not that good in cooking or baking. Anyways, i love this blog. Keep being hungry & stay awesome Sofia!

    23 November 2013
  41. bookmarked!!, I love your web site!

    4 December 2013
  42. Jess. #

    That’s the exact mixer I grew up with! Your site is wonderful, wonderful. So happy to have discovered it. xox

    4 June 2014

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